How We're Tackling the Challenge

We focus on four key areas in our climate efforts:

Energy Policy

Our chapter works to transition from oil, gas, uranium and coal to clean, renewable energy. In the Legislature, chapter staff and volunteers successfully lobbied for the law that requires utilities to reach 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. In 2015, hundreds of Rio Grande Chapter supporters contacted their state representatives and senators in a successful campaign to stop an attempt to gut the law.

The Rio Grande Chapter also advocates at the Public Regulation Commission, which holds incredible power over our state's energy policy. We’ve helped enact strong net­-metering rules (which guide how utilities pay customers with solar at their business or residence), successfully lobbied for rules to increase the amount of solar energy that utilities are required to provide under the Renewable Energy Act, and protected those rules from being undermined by hostile forces.

Sierra Club's Dirty Fuels campaign in New Mexico is led by Robert Tohe, who works to protect tribal communities in Northwest and western New Mexico from the hazards of uranium mining and fracking.

Oil & Gas

The Rio Grande Chapter is working to reduce the environmental and community impacts of oil and gas extraction.  We are working to stop Trump rollbacks of Federal Methane Waste and Pollution Rules.  We are working to protect the Greater Chaco landscape from fracking.  And we are working to see oil and gas legislation, rules and regulations pass that protect our air, water and communities.

See our separate pages on our methane pollution problem, fracking near Chaco Canyon, and the Sandoval County Oil & Gas Ordinance.

Coal

New Mexico is home to two of the dirtiest and most polluting coal plants in the country. Thanks in part to intervention by the Sierra Club, both Four Corners Power Plant and San Juan Generating Station have retired or plan to retire several units. The Rio Grande Chapter and Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign work for the total transition from dangerous and dirty coal to renewable energy to make a better future for our children.

Laws and rules our members helped enact have increased renewable energy in New Mexico, but we have a long way to go.

Renewable Energy

The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter and our supporters successfully worked for a New Mexico law requiring our largest utilities to provide 20% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020. We monitor and advocate at the Legislature and the Public Regulation Commission to keep our Renewable Energy Act and the rules that enforce intact and strong. Thanks to thousands of supporters contacting their elected representatives, we’ve fended off several attacks that would have severely curtailed renewable energy in New Mexico. We also advocate and work with local governments to develop pro-­renewables policy like community solar. It’s time to strengthen our renewable-­energy laws, policy and infrastructure to the levels needed to provide a safe climate for future generations.

Sierra Club's NM Northern Group Executive Committee member Sandrine Gaillard has developed a website to help homeowners decide if going solar makes sense for them, learn about the process and what's involved with going solar. Visit GoSolarNowNM.info to read the details, and feel free to contact her at sandrine.sierraclub@gmail.com with your comments and questions.

How You Can Take Action on Climate Change

Join our Climate Action Team

The team meets monthly and comes up with great ideas and actions to increase renewable energy at the local and state level. Contact Camilla Feibelman for more information and to join the team at camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org


Visit our Act on the Issues Page here to find out about how you can act on urgent and other environmental issues.

Climate change news

Low-Income and Environmental Advocates Applaud New Mexico’s New Energy Conservation Building Code

Low-Income and Environmental Advocates Applaud New Mexico’s New Energy Conservation Building Code
The New Mexico Construction Industries Commission voted on 8/7 to adopt a statewide energy conservation code based on the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code. This new code will bring NM up to date with its energy code for new buildings, ... Read More

Comment deadline on Chaco plan extended

Comment deadline on Chaco plan extended
As federal and state health guidelines were announced in March in response to COVID-19, New Mexico’s entire congressional delegation, Tribal leaders, Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Dept., and multiple groups called on Interior Secretary Bernhardt to extend the May 28 ... Read More

SunZia line drops plan for Escondida crossing

SunZia line drops plan for Escondida crossing
In a surprise  move in May, the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project announced that it is abandoning its proposed electrical transmission line on the White Sands Missile Range and the Rio Grande crossing at Escondida just north of Socorro and Bosque ... Read More

Crashing oil industry hobbles NM

Crashing oil industry hobbles NM
New Mexico has put itself into a box with its heavy reliance on oil and gas revenues — now approximately one-third of the state’s budget, a percentage that increased significantly after tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations were passed ... Read More